By Teri A. Coutu, Blue Rock Business Advisors
Did you know that we have a lot of small businesses in this area? We did before COVID and since then the number of small and home-based businesses has skyrocketed everywhere. It’s great to see people pursuing their passion and sharing their talents and skills.
One of the biggest misconceptions small and micro-business owners have is that they don’t need to worry about all the “businessy” things bigger companies do. But, experience has shown me that if you really want to succeed, those “businessy” things are even more important to small businesses. So, let’s review some of my favorite small-town online marketing business basics you need whether you’re working from your home or opening a small store-front.
- Register a domain for your business. Even if you don’t plan on building a comprehensive web page or website, registering a domain can be very useful because people are more likely to find your business when they search online if you have a domain. You can register one for about $9/year and once you have it registered, you can create a simple web page with your contact info, or “point” it to your favorite social media page.
- Use your domain to set up business email addresses. It just looks tacky if you use free email accounts for your business such as gmail, yahoo, outlook, etc. If you want to be taken seriously and show you are a real company, a business email address will make a positive impact.
- Add your business profile to Google. Doing this will help people find you when they search the Internet. The basic listing is free, and adding your email, address, phone number and hours to your profile makes it easy for customers to connect with you.
- Identify and engage on the RIGHT social media. You don’t need to be on every fad social media platform. Identify where your best customers are likely to be scrolling and set up an account(s) there. Then, create a variety of posts each month that provide helpful tips, show what you have to offer, and promote the personality of your business – just make sure it’s a positive one! Extra tip: Keep your location and business hours up to date on your account profile. You’d be surprised how angry people get when they look you up, see you’re open, and then show up ready to be a customer only to find you are closed.
- Determine whether or not you need a full website. Many small businesses are opting out of having a website and just use social media instead. There are many factors to consider when determining what is best for your business, and many options to review no matter what you do. I usually recommend at least a scrolling one-page site that provides an overview of who you are and how you can help your target customer. BUT, in small business communities, sometimes it’s more about who you know than how you show up online.
I always offer free consultations to our local new and small business owners. Just mention the Mountain Breeze article and we can meet for coffee somewhere!